Egypt opens Gaza border for two days

A Palestinian woman takes part in a protest calling for the Egyptian authorities to open the Rafah Border Crossing in the southern Gaza Strip on March 22, 2018. (AFP)
Updated 23 March 2018
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Egypt opens Gaza border for two days

GAZA CITY: Egypt opened its largely sealed border with the Gaza Strip on Friday for two days, Palestinian authorities said.
In just the third such opening this year, the crossing between the Palestinian enclave and Egypt’s Sinai region will be open Friday and Saturday for humanitarian cases, the Palestinian embassy in Cairo said.
The Rafah crossing is the only exit for Gaza residents except into Israel, but Egypt has largely sealed it in recent years, citing security threats.
Egyptian authorities have a poor relationship with Gaza’s Islamist rulers Hamas, whom they have accused of supporting attacks inside Egypt.
Both of the two previous border openings this year were cut short due to the security situation in Sinai.
The Egyptian army and police forces are engaged in a fierce conflict with armed Islamists, especially in the North Sinai governorate where an Egyptian affiliate of the Islamic State is active.
Hundreds have been killed on both sides.
For more than a decade, Israel has imposed a crippling blockade on Gaza that critics say amounts to collective punishment of the coastal territory’s two million Palestinian residents.
Israel says the blockade is necessary to isolate Hamas, with which it has fought three wars since 2008.
Egypt has also kept the Rafah crossing largely closed for several years.
In October, Egypt brokered a reconciliation agreement between Hamas and Fatah, the party of Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas, that was supposed to see the Islamists give up power in Gaza.
But the deal has collapsed, with the two Palestinian groups trading blame.


US-backed SDF denies report of final Daesh defeat

Updated 21 sec ago
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US-backed SDF denies report of final Daesh defeat

  • The SDF has denied the claims made by Syrian Kurdish news outlet Hawar

QAMISHLI, Syria: The US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces denied a report on Thursday that all of Daesh’s final enclave has been captured and said combing operations were still underway, an SDF media official said.
Earlier the Syrian Kurdish news outlet Hawar reported that the SDF had seized all of the Baghouz enclave, where the SDF has been battling for weeks to wipe out the last vestige of Daesh’s territorial rule.
Citing its correspondents, Hawar said the SDF had “liberated all of Baghouz from the Daesh mercenaries” and with that the campaign had “ended with the defeat of Daesh and the victory of the SDF.”